Perhaps no one in the history of the New York Mets has gotten more chances to prove themselves than Rafael Montero. He has continued to baffle and irritate some Mets fans who have watched him pitch to a 5.38 ERA and 1.705 WHIP in his Major League career, but still the front office keeps him in tow waiting for him to put it all together.
But it’s more than that. The Mets have actually questioned his competitiveness and his toughness at times. They have even had him suffer the indignity of being demoted to Double-A as a wake up call. However nothing seems to work. And yet he remains on the Mets roster. Worse yet, he remains while other talented pitchers who have produced are sent packing.
If we are being fair, we should pinpoint the 2016 season as the breaking point. In 2014, Montero acquitted himself well in his limited time, and in 2015, Montero suffered an injury, albeit one the Mets doubted truly existed. Montero would get a chance again in 2016 and there’s no sugar coating just how poorly he pitched. About the only place he pitched well was Binghamton, and he wasn’t exactly stellar there going 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA.
And yet, Montero remains a Met.
After the 2016 season, the Mets traded both Gabriel Ynoa and Logan Verrett to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations to help clear up space on the 40 man roster. The team would lose Matthew Bowman in the Rule 5 Draft. An injured Sean Gilmartin was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Because of these moves and because of all the injuries, Montero got another chance in 2017. He would reward the team’s faith and patience by going 5-11 with a 5.52 ERA, 1.748 WHIP, 5.1 BB/9, and an 8.6 K/9.
In an effort to be as fair as possible to Montero, he did get his first real extended chance to prove he belongs in the majors. From June 15th until the end of the season, he was on the Major League roster, and he would make 21 appearances and 16 starts. In that stretch, he was 5-7 with a 4.98 ERA, 1.591 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, and an 8.5 K/9.
Certainly, that was better, but it was not significantly different than his career numbers, which just have not been the caliber of a Major League starting pitcher. While you may not feel as if the Mets lost much of value in the aforementioned pitchers the organization lost, the irony is that the healthy pitchers in the group undoubtedly pitched better than Montero last year.
While McGowan struggled in his time in the majors last season, Bradford certainly did not. In fact, Bradford was one of the few pleasant surprises last season. In 28 major league appearances, he was 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.277 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, and a 7.2 K/9. And if not for two bad appearances that skewed his numbers, Bradford’s stat line would have been pristine. Hopefully, he’s not claimed off waivers and the Mets get to keep him.
But how did Montero survive this latest round of bloodletting by the Mets? Does he have some secret sex tape on Jeff Wilpon? I’m just kidding, but seriously, what gives?
At some point, push is finally going to come to shove, and Montero will no longer be a part of the Mets organization. With Montero being out of options, maybe this is the year. Maybe not. After all, the Mets do have spots open for competition in the Opening Day bullpen, and by now I’m sure the Mets have talked themselves into believing Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland will turn Montero into the next Dennis Eckersley.